After toiling in the fields on any given day, the interns of the farm re-coop at our three-sided kitchen cabin on the hill. On this evening Leonna is cooking dinner while Russell and I are sitting around. He is a hefty gentleman who joins us, with curly grey hair & patchwork shorts, introduced as Lauren. We offer our new visitor a bite to eat, but he declines, instead preferring to pick his dinner in the orchard. As he goes off to gather food, Leonna informs us that Lauren is better known as Joy Bear (of the Rainbow Family). I laugh to myself: so far, Joy Bear’s scavenging is quite in character.
When Joy Bear returns, conversation quickly leads to the evening’s television programming: our ladies, 30 hens & Cluck Cluck the rooster. The box (coop) garnishes a lot of our attention (when we aren’t starring down the soil). Since it is nearing dark, Leonna suggests we start the nightly ritual of gathering all the ladies up and putting them to bed (in the coop). Joy Bear laughs heartily and insists that the hens will put themselves to bed before dark. He suggests we have an experiment to see if the ladies take care of themselves tonight. “The very worst that could happen is that we are chasing chickens around in the dark with our headlamps on,”Russ notes. I am optimistic (surprise). But Leonna is having none of it. She commences on our normal protocol as if there were no debate. Russ and I help in rounding them up (I think it is kind-of fun anyhow!)
Joy Bear follows us down the hill, already chuckling to himself about the show he is about to be treated to. No shortage of delight, Joy Bear stands by the pen, bracing himself on a post & booming the whole time! He bellows a great many jolly laughs at the crazy chicken chasing interns! I am impressed with his immense laughter. Whoa! Ha! Ha! Ha! While working the fields the next day, Joy Bear is a popular topic of conversation. Some scoff that he laughed right at us! How rude! How obnoxious! It is appropriate that we are so miffed, but I suspect a smile creeping across my face. I secretly relish Joy Bear’s irresistible jubilation. In the chicken coop, I had been laughing alongside him – on the inside, of course. And the very next night, after J. Bear departed, the ladies did indeed tuck themselves in.